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A pedestrian refuge island is a raised section of pavement between two lanes of traffic. A Refuge Island allows pedestrians to stop in the centre of the road, so they can split their crossing.

The pedestrian Island will be raised onto a 1m high abstract rock facade,  ensuring good sightlines on the street.  The performer will drag push and pull an oversized suitcase that will contain a digital screen that will show a digital artwork that will connect to the stories we're sharing. The Installation aims to disrupt the high street with a thought provoking artwork that highlights the importance of offering a safe place of refuge. 

Audio Samples
Release Audio Clip 1Whispered Tales
00:00 / 01:30
Release Audio Clip 2Whispered Tales
00:00 / 04:44
The Three Tales In Release

1940 Liverpool: Nellie

Nellie’s family fled Ireland to the safety of Liverpool in the 1930’s escaping poor economic hardship. During the Liverpool Blitz Nellie’s home was bombed, her entire family lay trapped in the debris. In order to calm the children they began to sing, yet one by one their voices were silenced as the deadly hiss of gas seeped through the rubble. Whispered Tales believes that by starting the show with a story closer to home, it will help to establish a sense of connection. The tale ends with the question. How far do we all have to go back, into our own heritage, until we find a story of migration and a need for refuge?

1990 Bosnia: Vanja

Vanja was a young, talented Bosnian pianist when the war broke out. Knowing their lives would soon be in danger Vanja fled alone to Croatia where she was able to continue her music scholarship. Yet faced with the constant onslaught of abuse due to her refugee status, she made the journey back to her family home. Within weeks of arriving home her life was in danger and the family fled. Arriving back in Croatia the music schools were full. This was the end of her professional music career. 

2000 Uganda: Shahada 

Shahada’s mother left Uganda when she was 4 years old. After years of separation and turbulent times they were finally united, music and dance were the only form of escape for Shahada and continue to be her only constant. 


"We are writing to express our support of Whispered Tales latest project RELEASE.  Whispered Tales are a trusted partner with whom we have worked with before  and are known for their high-quality performance installations that are highly engaging with our diverse audiences.  With their new show Release they will share stories of migration, a subject which fits perfectly within the artistic programme for Journeys Festival. Release will also feature the work of Parang Khezri, a refugee film maker based here in Leicester."



"We are very much looking forward to working with Whispered Tales and their disabled choreographer Lisa Simpson. Whispered Tales are known for their high quality performances and we're excited to be a key partner in this new work that will bring together such a diverse range of artists. The creative residency staged at Attenborough Art Centre will allow us to forge meaningful long lasting relationships with participants from a range of backgrounds from refugees to dancers to disabled participants. We are in full support of this project and look forward to working with Whispered Tales in 2023."



"The residency is a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage in the creative process. The workshop program accompanying the residency will enable our students to participate in a variety of workshops with professional artists to ensure that they are gaining the skills required for a sustainable career in the arts post graduation. Finally, Liverpool Hope University supports this project as we believe it will enable us to further engage our local community based here in Everton. Every year we stage The Angel Festival, Whispered Tales will present a public preview of their new show which we know will bring a new audience from our local neighbourhood into our festival."


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Lisa is a Liverpool based choreographer who has Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and no verbal communication. In 2021 BBC Arts and One Dance UK produced a five-minute film, entitled Freedom, which will shone a spotlight on Lisa’s choreography process. Lisa is currently working on a British Council
and Unlimited Commission.

A graduate from Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Shahada is known for her captivating and emotive storytelling dance qualities. Shahada was born in Uganda and came to the UK as a refugee. Whispered Tales worked with Shahada as a principle dancer in their previous project Distant Drums and are delighted to work with Shahada again.

Parang is a Kurdish Iranian refugee filmmaker has over 13 years’ experience in writing, directing, editing. Parang became interested in film as a young girl in Iran, where she viewed film as the only place where one could truly experience freedom and where anything could be possible. Parang’s artistic practice involves themes of surrealism, psychology, and feminism. 

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